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Full text of "My Country And My People"

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THE    CHINESE    PEOPLE                   21

Enormous is the earth,
And the sky is a deep blue;
The wind blows, the tall grass bends,
And the sheep and cattle come into view.

It was with this song that a northern general, after suffering a
heavy defeat, rallied his soldiers and sent them again to battle.
And in contrast to the southern songs of love, we have a general
singing about a newly bought broadsword:

I have just bought me a five-foot knife,
I swing it with a gleaming cadence.
I fondle it three times a clay,
I won't change it for fifteen maidens!

Another song handed down to us reads:

In the distance I descry the Mengchin river,

The willows and poplars stand in silent grace.

I am a Mongol's son.

And don't know Chinese lays.

A good rider requires a swift horse,

And a swift horse requires a good rider.

When it clatters off amidst a cloud of dust,

You know then who wins and who's the outsider.1

Lines like these open up a vista of speculation as to the
diflferences of northern and southern blood that went into the
make-up of the Chinese race, and seem to make it possible to
understand how a nation subjected to two thousand years of
kowtowing and indoor living and a civilization without
popular sports could avoid the fate of civic racial degeneration
that overtook Egypt, Greece and Rome and the other ancient
civilizations. How has China done it?

1 These songs are quoted by Dr. Hu Shih in support of the same thesis.